The first time my dad died I was 10 years old. It was 1995, and he fell into a 6-month coma after losing a bout with brain surgery. He eventually woke up, but he had a long path to recovery. He struggled for 14 years with insurmountable health challenges before he finally passed in 2009.
After his death, I felt numb. For a long time, I maintained that numbness by refusing to face the pain, the fear, the loss, and the sadness. All those ugly things stayed bottled up inside me as I disappeared into my 20's.
It has been 11 years since he passed and there's not a day that goes by I don't miss him. He never got to meet my wife. He will never hold my daughter, and she will never know his laugh. I do my best to carry his warmth in me, but his absence makes me sad still to this day.
The death of a loved one at a young age can send young boys and girls down a dangerous path. Experience Camp is a place that helps young boys and girls who are suffering the loss of a loved one heal, cope and commune. I'd be grateful if you'd join me in raising money for this incredible camp for grieving children.
As a volunteer for 2 of the last 3 years, I can't say enough about how meaningful this camp is for the boys and girls who attend. This place offers them tools to confront and understand the grief that confuses, enrages, saddens, and eats at them. More than tools, the camp provides a community that embraces them when tools aren't enough. For one week each summer, these boys and girls have a safe place to call home. They have a team of professionals to counsel them; a powerful group of volunteers to bear witness to their pain; and a family of peers to share their experiences with -- something their classmates at home cannot do. They arrive in the bus as strangers from all walks of life, and they leave six days later as brothers and sisters. The transformation I've seen in these young people in such a short amount of time leaves me feeling like the time and money invested to bring these kids to camp is worth it.
I'd really appreciate if you could help me reach my goal of raising $7,500 for camp in the next 2 weeks!
Experience Camp writes:
2020 has brought a year of hardship for all and grief for many. 1 in 5 children are grieving the loss of a parent, sibling or caregiver. And over 1 million children have been directly impacted by a COVID-related death.* With grief support needed more than ever, we must come back bigger and better in 2021 and meet the anticipated increase in demand due to COVID-19. To make that happen, we need your help.
From November 16th - December 31th, we are running a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Experience Camps. But this is no ordinary fundraising campaign. It’s also a way to share the stories of loss that so many of us have experienced. It’s a way to show grieving children that they are not alone. And to ensure that we can send as many grieving kids to camp in 2021 as possible.
We’ll be looking to you, our supporters, to join together to fill the funding gap created by COVID-19 and ensure that we can fund 1,200 campers to attend camp next summer. That’s a 33% increase from last year to help meet the demand we’re seeing for our programs.
You have the power to make a real impact in the lives of grieving children and have your friends and family rally around a cause that you care deeply about.
*Source: COVID-19 and Grief
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Experience Camps are nationally recognized summer camps for grieving children, ages 9-17, who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or caregiver. We give grieving children experiences that will change their lives forever. With nearly 5 million children in the US currently grieving the loss of a close family member, the need is enormous.
Experience Camps operates summer camp programs in 10 locations nationwide, and provides ongoing opportunities throughout the year for support, connection and community. We reframe the experience of grief and empower our campers to develop invaluable coping skills that enable them to move forward with their lives.
Since 2009, Experience Camps has transformed the lives of thousands of children by bringing light to the profound darkness of grief. We offer a community where kids can laugh, cry, play, create, honor the memory of the person who died or forget the grief that weighs them down. It's a home away from home. And just about everyone will tell you... "It's the best week of the year."